Turkey Gumbo

5 from 16 votes
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I’ll be honest: This is as much a shrimp and andouille gumbo as it is a turkey gumbo. And what’s more, there isn’t any reason you can’t substitute whatever meat makes you happy for the turkey.

But this does happen to be what I think is an excellent turkey gumbo recipe, and it is undeniably a great use for turkey drumsticks, wild or store-bought.

A bowl of turkey gumbo
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Gumbo is one of those stews that everyone makes in their own way. I happen to prefer a more Cajun method, with a dark roux and not much tomato, if any. The roux (pronounced “roo”) is a mixture of fat and flour that thickens the stew and, when you cook it to the color of dark chocolate, adds a distinctive flavor.

Most gumbos use a roux, either as a base of stirred in at the end, and all gumbos employ the Holy Trinity of onion, green pepper, and celery. Most use garlic, too. And almost all gumbo uses at least one of the three thickeners: the roux, okra or filé, which is dried, powdered sassafras leaf. Rarely will you see all three in a gumbo, however.

Meat is where it gets crazy. You can put pretty much any meat you want in a gumbo, and most include more than one.

This turkey gumbo is pretty typical in that it has the main meat — turkey legs and thighs — plus something smoked, in this case my homemade andouille sausage, and a seafood like shrimp, crab or crawfish.

I do not advise using turkey breast here, because it doesn’t take well to long stewing. If you must use turkey breast, dice it into pieces you’d want to eat, then toss it into the gumbo in the last 10 minutes so it won’t dry out.

Gumbo is usually served with steamed, long-grain rice, or potato salad. A Dixie or Abita beer is a good accompaniment.

If you like this turkey gumbo, I have several other recipes here, including a Cajun seafood gumbo, a Creole okra gumbo and a catch-all wild game gumbo I normally make with venison.

Closeup of a bowl of turkey gumbo
5 from 16 votes

Turkey Gumbo with Andouille and Shrimp

Gumbo is one of the great uses for a turkey drumstick. I use homemade andouille and Gulf shrimp from Alabama, but any good American shrimp and smoked sausage will do; tasso ham is another good option. And feel free to put any and all meats you want in here.  I use filé powder here to thicken my gumbo, but you can skip that and use ½ pound of okra instead. 
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Cajun
Servings: 8 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup peanut oil, lard, or butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 quart stock, turkey or other good similar stock
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 to 4 turkey drumsticks
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • ¼ to ½ pound smoked sausage or tasso ham, cut into coins or chunks
  • 1 pound peeled, raw shrimp
  • 1/2 pound sliced okra (or 2 tablespoons filé powder)
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Pour the stock and 1 quart water into a pot and bring it to a simmer.
  • In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook this, stirring often, until it’s the color of milk chocolate. You’ll need to stir this more often as it cooks so it doesn’t burn. This should take about 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced vegetables and the garlic, and mix well. Let this cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the celery seed, bay leaves, and Cajun seasoning.
  • Bring the stock to a full boil and start adding it ladle by lade into the soup pot. It will sputter and seize up at first, but keep adding the stock until it has all incorporated. Bring this to a full, rolling boil and let this boil for a couple of minutes.
  • Turn the heat back down to a simmer and add the turkey drumsticks. Taste for salt and let this simmer until the meat wants to fall off the bone, a couple of hours. Remove the turkey legs and pull the meat from the bone.
  • Add the sausage, shrimp, and okra or about a tablespoon of filé to thicken, and let this simmer 5 minutes. Add Tabasco to taste and serve garnished with green onions over rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 273mg | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1250IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 160mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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20 Comments

  1. Made this over the weekend with last year’s Turkey legs and stock. As I was cooking, I realized I had never actually made a gumbo before, always been a chowder kind of guy. This was amazing, family loved it, I woke this morning excited to have the left-overs for lunch today.

  2. This is a most excellent way to use those turkey legs and thighs. I was intimidated by making the roux, but it was worth it. I’m looking forward to next turkey season so I can make it again.

  3. Although my roux didn’t tune out as dark as the pic, it was still damn good. My jake took 3 hours to simmer before it would separate from the bone, so go ahead and give it some more time. Will bookmark this one for later. Thanks Hank.

  4. This recipe is absolutely delicious! Creamy, with a favor that melts in your mouth. I substituted rabbit for the turkey. It was a great success. I think about making this often, wait! Why am I just thinking about it? I should just cook it again!

  5. Really enjoy the site. Making gumbo from this recipe the 2nd time. My crowd likes it. Only change I make is to use peanut oil(used it to fry a turkey) instead of oil or butter.

  6. I was fortunate to live in Cajun country for a year when I was young. My mother was a great and ever inquisitive cook who took to Cajun food and thus gumbo, dirty rice, jambalaya etc. became regulars at supper time as I grew up. Gumbo is a favorite in my house to this day. Always eaten with long grain white rice until,”drumroll”, I tried it with hush puppies! Talking about simple hot water, cornmeal,salt, hush pups. Fry em up, break a couple up in your bowl, ladle gumbo, onions, parsley, a little Tabasco,whatever you like. Ce Bon!

  7. I guess my original post did not make it. The correction was using a cup of butter or oil instead of a half cup. Used ths gumbo recipe in DDG to verify. We had the same issue as Tom.

  8. Made this for dinner tonight. It was great. I had red peppers and a split turkey breast so that was what I used. Used okra and not file as that is a little difficult to find in upstate NY. I will definitely make this again!

  9. Thanks, Hank! I’ve got four goose quarters in the freezer that really need to be used up. I’ve found my recipe.

  10. Best gumbo ever! Wife made the correction I mentioned. Turned out great!
    Like to post pictures, burt do nort see a way to do that.

  11. Made this great recipe with a a wild turkey leg that had been in the freezer since 2017. Came out great and it just kept getting better the longer it sat in the fridge, we ate it for days afterwards. The one issue I had was I made the roux with butter and it turned into this thick paste that I started to worry was not going to brown like the recipe indicated so I threw it a bit of oil to bring it towards a liquid consistency which seemed to work. Also the wild turkey leg even after a few hours didn’t want to give up so I threw it in the instapot for 1/2 hour and that was the ticket. I should have done that from the get go because those Tom turkey legs can be tough to get them to fall off the bone but the instapot always does the trick.

    1. Charlie: Up north, in places like Whole Paycheck. Or Penzey’s has it online. If your town has a spice shop they will have it, too.

  12. This mid-west raised Alaskan gal perfected her gumbo years ago and made the same gumbo for SB party this weekend. Your recipe nails it! Used turkey stock found in freezer with dark meat in it. This was the best stock I’ve ever made a gumbo with. I will definitely cook again. Same ingredients – lots of wild shrimp, andouille, dark turkey meat, trinity, okra, dark roux (always make mine with butter, better flavor!) Lots of cajun seasoning. Seasoning added to each layer – flavor is deep and seasoned perfect. Served with white rice, pass the hot sauce and beer or magaritas! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Can I use venison in lieu of turkey? If so, should it cook the whole time or add it towards the end like I would turkey breast?